I've been trying to catch my breath since we left Santa Cruz, just a little over 2 weeks ago and headed into the Pacific Northwest. Every time I enter location points onto my trave map, we drive another couple hundred miles, and my sense of place in the country shifts once again. It has been liberating to find myself back on the road, its simplicity one I find comfort in. In this section of the country my time has exclusively been devoted to Outstanding in the Field. We have held 7 events in over 3 states and even crossed the border into Canada. The landscape of the Pacific Northwest was one I was unfamiliar with until this tour and it has been thrilling to put geography and memories into this corner of the world.
RICE COOKER GRITS
8 cups Milk, Stock or Water
2 cups Grits
1 cup Cheddar
handful Basil, chopped
Salt, Pepper & Red Chili Flake, to taste
In a rice cooker, add 2 cups grits and cover with 8 cups of liquid. Turn rice cooker to 'cook' and make sure it stays on 'cook' mode, not 'warm'. If your rice cooker has a weight oriented timer use something to override the mechanism like a piece of cardboard. Stir every couple of minutes, checking the grits texture often. Grits may take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour depending on rice cooker so you gotta watch it. Finish with cheese, basil and seasonings. If you have some extra time, let the grits stand in the liquid before cooking for a couple of hours.
At the start of this jaunt, I left my home in Santa Cruz and many people and places I love. The Central Coast has proven to be a vibrant powerhouse of agriculture and I was sad to have to miss the summers bounty. Happily I did get to play with some of summer's abundance at a meal I hosted called 'A Full Moon Feast' at the charming lille æske gallery in Boulder Creek, California. The meal was an absolutely dream for me, as the intimate setting allowed me to utilize many of my favorite farms and artisan products on my menu, including goat cheese and produce from Camp Joy Gardens where my culinary journey in California landed just last year. The dinner was a tasting of many of my friends and colleges of the areas vegetables, fruit, cheese wine and pickles. It was so happy to have my friends support at the dinner. My Camp Joy ladies were critical to expediting my dinner and I was thrilled with some of the recipes we came up with.
Mama's Tomate Tarte
My Mom, a bonafide Jersey tomato girl, gave me the recipe for her legendary confit tomatoes once tomatoes started rolling in this year. I was excited to apply it to one of my favorite thing to prepare, the hand pie. In my years of street vending food, there is a phenomenon I've noticed that people always seem to freak out for a personal portion. I believe that something about it makes them feel special, like you made it specifically for them. The day of the dinner Marta had just flown into town and we spent the morning recipe testing this tomato pie. She recommended I add have a swipe of dijion mustard to the crust before baking, as one of her Parisian friends, Cami had always done and we decided the pies should be individually portioned as opposed to slices of a 9' pie. It was much more involved of a preparation but it was worth it.
Makes about 25 3' Hand Pies or 2 9' pies
300 grams good all purpose flour
200 grams rye flour
100 grams cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon salt
4 oz water, as needed
In a large mixing bowl, combine flours. Add butter, salt and with clean hands, knead dough together. Once dough is flakey, add water and knead until dough is smooth, you may have to add a bit more water. Roll into a ball & cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for an hour or until ball is firm.
1 lb. 6 oz. Cherry Tomatoes
3 cloves Garlic, smashed
half a cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons packed Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Butter
5 large Onions, chopped
1 cup old Wine, (I used pinot noir)
red pepper flake, salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mustard
Preheat oven 325. Mix together tomatoes and garlic in a non-reactive 9 x 13" baking dish. Whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, brown sugar and salt in a bowl and drizzle over tomato mixture. Bake until tomatoes are softened and caramelized, about an hour. Place tomatoes in a colander to drain off excess oil. Set aside. Reserve excess oil for a delicious salad dressing or a top just about anything!
In a medium cast iron skillet over medium high heat, add butter. Once butter is melted, add onions. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until onions start to brown and stick to the bottom of the skillet. Deglaze the pan by adding the wine to the hot pan and scrapping the bottom of the skillet to pull up the flavor. Cook until liquid has started to thicken and reduce until there is no longer any more visible liquid, about 5 minutes. Season with red pepper flake, salt + pepper and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pie pan or mini 3 inch pie pans. Roll dough out to desired tarte size and fold into buttered baking dish. Swipe the bottom of the crust with dijion and spoon in onions and tomatoes. Bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes depending on size, checking crust often for crispness. Cool & enjoy!
Pickle Girl's Pickled Beets + Eggs
Emily Eder has been pickling for years in the central coast. Her knack for recipe production and distinct palette gives her pickles an incredible uniqueness that brings any dish to life. She most recently developed the Pantry Program at The Cremer House of Felton, California.
7lb beets boiled & peeled
1 yellow onion halved and sliced
Two 4" cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. all spice berries
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp whole star anise
1 cups sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 quart apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
In a large resealable jar, add beets and spices. In a medium stock pot prepare the brine. Combine sugars, salt, vinegar and water. Cook until sugar is disolved. Pour over beets. Can if desired or store in fridge for 2 weeks.
1 cup pickled beet brine from pickled beets (let pickle at least a day or two)
1 cup distilled vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole allspice berries
1 bay leaf
1 red onion sliced
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled
Prepare hard boiled eggs and place in jar. Add brine and spices. Let sit for 2 days. Enjoy!
Rabbit Terrine with Country Mustard
as adapted from epicurious
This is a moderately difficult recipe, but if you are prepared with the right equipment its no more involved then making stock or pulled pork.
8 x 4 loaf pan
RABBIT & STOCK
1, 3 pound rabbit, cut into pieces
4 shallots, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 parsley sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
1 leek, rinsed and cut into discs
1 head garlic, left unpeeled and halved
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-oz envelopes)
1 tablespoons red wine
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/3 cup salted pistachios, chopped
3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup seeded mustard
Remove fat, kidneys, and liver from rabbit. Put rabbit, shallots, carrots, parsley, thyme, leek, garlic, peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water in a 4-quart pot and bring to a boil, skimming off any froth that rises. Reduce heat and gently simmer rabbit, partially covered, until tender, about an hour. Cool rabbit in broth, uncovered for 30 minutes, then remove, reserving rabbit pieces and broth separately. Pour broth through a colander, discarding solids. If the broth measures more than 2 1/2 cups, boil to reduce. If it measures less, add water. Return it to a clean pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While broth is simmering, coarsely shred rabbit meat, being careful to remove all small bones.
Sprinkle gelatin over remaining 1/4 cup cold water and allow to soften for 1 minute, then whisk into hot broth until dissolved. Stir in wine and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
Lightly oil loaf pan and line with a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to drape over edges. Place loaf pan on a tray. Take a brick or a heavy object that can weigh down on top of the loaf pans and cover the brick with tin foil. Cut a piece of cardboard into shape of loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap and then tin foil.
Grind fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or in an electric coffee/spice grinder and toss with rabbit, olives, pistachios, chives, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Place cardboard and brick on top of terrine, creating just enough pressure to press cardboard about 1/2 inch into terrine (some broth will spill over onto tray). Chill terrine on tray 3 hours, then remove weights.
To unmold terrines, unwrap plastic wrap and invert onto a long narrow platter, pulling slightly on plastic to release terrines from molds. Cut terrine to desired width and serve with mustard and bread. Enjoy!
One of the best parts of touring in the summer is that we can camp pretty much everywhere we go. Many of the farmers share their land with us and I absolutely love sleeping out under the stars.
I've been hammocking the last couple of years and my confidant Marta and I always joke we are hammock missionaries because we have converted so many people to the hammock lifestyle. The storage, assembly and sleep are simply the best when it comes to camping. The tiny hammock opens up into a full bed that you can hang from just about any two sturdy beams, from trees to dock pilings, green house posts, barns and porches. The best thing about the hammock is that after a long 12 hour day I get to kick up my feet and sleep. Its my favorite way to catch some zzz's.
Our greatest hammock location to date was in Lilliwaup, Washington, where Marta, who is a natural hammock location scout, decided we should hang from an eccentric dock piling that would become partially submerged that night as the tide came in. Sure enough we both woke at 2 in the morning to the sound of rising water just a foot and half from our hammocks. The stars were glittering above us and we were safe from the water in our nests. We laughed at the absurdity of it all, and drifted back to sleep. I awoke again to a breathtaking sunrise on the Puget Sound and hopped up for work. That day we hosted guests in an estuary that was half submerged during dinner service, the kitchen, dish pit and staff all with water up to our knees as guests sat at the table which was just far enough away from the rising tide.
as adapted from My Recipes
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 16 oz chicken broth
1/2 pound unpeeled jumbo shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 skinned, boned chicken thighs, cut in half
2 links Spanish chorizo sausage
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1 cup frozen green peas
8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Combine parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Set aside.
Combine water, saffron, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer Keep warm over low heat. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large paella pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Add sausage and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Add shrimp, and saute 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add onion and bell pepper; saute 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, paprika, and 3 garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in herb blend, broth mixture, chicken, sausage mixture, and peas. Bring to a low boil; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mussels to pan. Cook 5 minutes or until shells open. Arrange shrimp and cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup lemon juice. Remove from heat; cover with a towel, and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
After reaching Washington, we crossed the border into Canada, giddy to be abroad and excited to check out the bustling food scene of Vancouver. We slept in our hammocks on a couchsurfer porch and headed to University of British Columbia's Farm and I was impressed by the immense bounty of the farm made possible by inspired students. The guests were a mix of Canadians and ex-pats and were very friendly. We snacked on incredible blueberries from the farm and were chased out by the mosquitos looming in the tall grass as the sunset.
Then we hit the 99 North and found our way to North Arm Farm in Pemberton. We arrived at dusk to the foot of Mount Currie and couldn't believe the beauty we were surrounded by. The misquotes however viciously chewed us out again and we sought refugee in tents. The dinner proved to be a challenge as thunderstorms kept unexpectedly turning into the valley. We moved the table to a nearby barn for shelter from the rain, but as Jim expected the sky parted and we rushed to move the table back into the field. It was a pleasure to connect with the proud Canadian Chefs, we joked about our respected accents and exchanged war stories. They left us with a bounty of food and we packed up and headed South for the border, we had a 20 hour drive ahead of us to Wyoming.